NASET News Alert

Mentoring Issues in Question for Special Educators

January 13, 2011

While teacher mentoring has become nearly ubiquitous as an education reform, new research suggests state and district mentoring policies may leave gaps in support for special education teachers. Mentoring, in which a new or struggling teacher is matched with an expert instructor for support and training, has won broad support from union leaders to governors; federal school improvement grants even recommend it as an intervention for improving low-performing schools. Nearly all states have a teacher mentoring program of some sort-most as part of induction for new teachers-but some, such as Alabama and Virginia, for any teacher who isn't meeting state teaching standards. Most states require preservice student teaching for special educators, said George A. Giuliani, the executive director of the Washington-based National Association of Special Education Teachers, but he agreed that those teachers often have less access to mentors once they actually begin to teach....Mentors can help general and special education teachers alike, Dr. Giuliani said, if they focus on helping teachers differentiate instruction and use a universal design for learning. Universal design, a term taken from architectural design, involves teaching and classroom space that allow a wide variety of students, including those with disabilities or English-language learners, to access the curriculum. To read more, click here

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